2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid first drive review: Electrified version is the one to get

The CR-V is a cornerstone of Honda’s American lineup. Due to the fact it debuted below in 1997, the automaker’s sold a lot more than five million copies. Last 12 months by yourself, the CR-V accounted for practically sixty% of the brand’s SUV gross sales. Evidently, prospects respect this vehicle’s mix of reliability and affordability, efficiency and spaciousness. 

Creating on that inherent goodness, the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid is a lot more inexpensive, powerful and refined than the regular product. In limited, it can be an even much better CR-V. 

A cornerstone of Honda’s electrified upcoming

Regardless of presenting numerous hybrid products for years, Honda has by no means had a gasoline-electric SUV in its American lineup, but the CR-V Hybrid last but not least variations that. This crossover’s introduction is portion of a greater drive to cut down emissions and improve efficiency. The automaker is aiming to electrify two-thirds of its world auto lineup by the 12 months 2030.

Helping get to that purpose, this CR-V has a two-motor hybrid program beneath its hood, generally the very same one particular utilized in the Accord Hybrid. The coronary heart of this powertrain is a two.-liter 4-cylinder gasoline motor that operates on the gasoline-saving Atkinson cycle. As for those electric motors, one particular is utilized for propulsion even though the other handles commencing and ability-producing responsibilities. A one.four-kWh lithium-ion battery pack is mounted underneath the rear floor, storing and releasing power as dictated by driving problems. Full program horsepower is 212, a welcome bump above the a hundred ninety hp you get in a common CR-V. Utmost torque clocks in at 232 pound-feet.

Like the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, the CR-V Hybrid has all-wheel generate as common. Ford, meanwhile, presents you a choice of drivetrains — the Escape Hybrid can be had with either entrance- or all-wheel generate. 

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

It’s challenging to explain how Honda’s two-motor hybrid program capabilities, but it performs incredibly effectively.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

As for gasoline overall economy, this Honda is estimated to return forty miles for each gallon city, 35 mpg freeway and 38 mpg blended. According to the EPA, likewise equipped variations of both equally the Toyota and the Ford are slightly a lot more economical on just about every examination cycle, but in authentic-earth driving you most likely will not see a distinction. A conventionally driven CR-V with all-wheel generate is rated at 27 mpg city, 33 mpg freeway and 29 mpg blended. This suggests the hybrid product is practically twenty five% a lot more economical in blended driving, a substantial distinction.

The CR-V Hybrid has numerous generate modes, all of which are quickly accessible via a sequence of chunky buttons mounted to the suitable of the equipment selector. Sport method raises throttle response and, by means of the Lively Seem Regulate program, can make the motor observe a lot more aggressive. As its identify implies, Econ method optimizes the vehicle’s efficiency, building it truly feel a little bit lethargic in the approach. You will find also EV method, which lets the CR-V Hybrid operate solely on energy, but only for limited distances.

Due to the fact this auto is neither a pure electric nor a plug-in hybrid, its battery-only driving assortment is incredibly limited, only about one or two miles, dependent on problems. It’s supposed for silently motoring by means of parking buildings or pulling into your garage devoid of waking up the spouse and children, not for carbon-neutral cross-nation drives.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

The CR-V Hybrid characteristics a distinctive instrument cluster.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Responsive and refined

Not only does this powertrain truly feel smoother and sound fewer thrashy than the one.five-liter turbo-4 observed in the common CR-V, it also delivers excellent general performance. Thanks to its electric torque, the hybrid product is punchy off the line, pulling effectively at all speeds. 

This CR-V’s powertrain is significantly a lot more pleasurable than Honda’s former hybrid initiatives. I remember tests the Perception sedan a pair years back, and even though economical, its drivetrain was bonkers. Motor pace and sound ranges were being in no way relevant to how a lot throttle you were being making use of. Occasionally, even though carefully accelerating, the motor would make all varieties of racket, other times it was content material to basically idle. Its behavior was a lot more than a little bit disconcerting. Fortunately, the CR-V Hybrid’s drivetrain has none of these poor behaviors. It’s silent and clean, fading into the track record.

That laudable refinement applies to the rest of this crossover’s driving behavior. The CR-V Hybrid feels reliably good, with no rattles or reverberations detracting from the experience. Its steering is properly weighted and the wheel has a thick rim that is quick to hold.

Regenerative braking is an additional superior place. The pedal is properly weighted, neither much too grabby nor overly squishy, furthermore it can be quick to modulate. Regenerative braking in some hybrid motor vehicles feels inconsistent, with the changeover between regen and friction braking annoyingly evident.

Place the discrepancies

Visual discrepancies between the CR-V Hybrid and its gasoline-only counterpart are minimal. Up entrance, you are going to uncover common LED headlights, slitted foglamps and a blue-hued Honda brand. The entrance fenders have hybrid badges and at the back, Touring products get a distinctive bumper. You will find also a “concealed” tailpipe tucked underneath the rear fascia, although it can be however quick to place.

Inside of, the CR-V Hybrid added benefits from Honda’s familiar drive-button shifter instead of the clunky mechanical one particular observed in the common product. It also gets a distinctive instrument cluster that demonstrates how the hybrid program is operating. A pair of steering wheel-mounted paddles lets you modify how aggressive the regenerative braking is, a helpful element. 

The CR-V Hybrid is available in 4 trim ranges: LX, EX, EX-L and Touring. Based on the product, it also offers characteristics like wireless gadget charging, embedded navigation and blind-place checking with rear-cross site visitors inform. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available, as effectively as leather trim and twin-zone weather handle. The Honda Sensing suite of basic safety devices is also common throughout the board, with characteristics like adaptive cruise handle and lane-keeping guide.

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

CR-V Hybrids element a drive-button equipment selector instead of a mechanical shifter.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Just like the regular CR-V, this gasoline-electric variation characteristics an excellent inside. The entrance seats are cozy and the 2nd-row bench is spacious. The elements utilized are best-notch for the section and the interior’s ergonomics are admirable. My only authentic gripe is about the antiquated infotainment program, which is unattractive and obtuse.

One of the ideal gets even much better

The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid is offered at dealerships suitable now. The foundation price for one particular of these gasoline-sipping crossovers is $28,870, which include $one,120 in desired destination costs. That is just $one,200 a lot more than an all-wheel-generate LX variation with the regular powertrain. 

As for the loaded Touring product witnessed below, it checks out for $37,070, a fantastic little bit a lot more than the entry-stage variation, but however a acceptable sum. If you really don’t thoughts spending that modest upcharge, this hybridized CR-V is the one particular to get. It’s a lot more refined, in some approaches much better to generate and, of course, significantly a lot more economical.

Editors’ observe: Vacation fees relevant to this tale were being covered by the manufacturer, which is popular in the car industry. The judgments and viewpoints of Roadshow’s staff members are our possess and we do not settle for paid out editorial content material.

Maria J. Danford

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